Azores - São Miguel

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Mata-Jardim José do Canto & Salto do Rosal

The Mata-Jardim José do Canto is more than just a botanical garden. In addition to a variety of different plants from several regions all around the world, you can also admire some endemic plants, a special church and a truly stunning waterfall. The entrance to the park can be found south of the Lagoa das Furnas.

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You will be able to park in the official car park on the opposite side of the road that directly passes the lake. Don’t worry about the weather when visiting the Mata-Jardim José do Canto by the way. The paths are all very secure and there are no really steep inclines.

José do Canto

José do Canto, born in Sao Miguel stammte, provided the island not only with the chapel and the botanical gardens by lake Furnas and in Ponta Delgada (Jardim José do Canto). Additionally, he was interested in agriculture and collected a variety of books that can now be found in the Biblioteca Pública e Arquivo Regional de Ponta Delgada.

Chapel Nossa Senhora das Vitórias

You will probably notice the chapel Nossa Senhora das Vitórias straight away when you walk from the car park towards the entrance of the Mata-Jardim José do Canto. Nowhere else on the Azores will you be able to find another gothic church. Influenced by his wife’s serious illness, José do Canto had this church built by lake Furnas.

The Ermida de Nossa Senhora das Vitórias, unique in its gothic architectural style on the Azores.
The gothic Ermida de Nossa Senhora das Vitórias

When visiting the botanical gardens, don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the church’s interior. The door is barred by a gate, but a little peek inside is definitely worth it.

Inside the Ermida de Nossa Senhora das Vitórias, the light shines through the colourfully painted windows onto the furniture made from carved wood and marble.
The inside of the Ermida de Nossa Senhora das Vitórias.

Mata-Jardim José do Canto

Definitely don’t miss out on visiting the Salto do Rosal. This is located a little to the south and is easily accessible via the well-signposted path. We don’t think there is any other way to get to it. The path leads you through the park and then through a gate along the flow of the stream created by the waterfall. When walking through the park, you will be able to discover various plants and blossoms. The park that was initially used to “acclimatise” new plants is separated into different sections that are all waiting to be explored by you.

Aside from a section for endemic plants, ferns, and the many camellias and rhododendrons, it is often the smallest things like a certain type of moss that makes this park special.

Passageway Mata Jardim José do Canto to the Salto do Rosal
Passageway Mata Jardim José do Canto to the Salto do Rosal

About halfway to the waterfall, you will also come across a very special spot. To the right of the path, there stands an impressive sequoia. These trees originate in California, which is why they are not usually spotted in places like this. They have, however, been planted in some other areas of the world now, so that you can sometimes find the up to 95m tall trees outside of the United States.

Impressive giant sequoia in the Mata Jardim José do Canto
You would expect to find such giant sequoias in the United States rather than here.

Salto do Rosal

Once you arrive at the waterfall, this is a perfect location to take a little break, and to enjoy the view and rushing of the water. When I was last here, I was by myself nearly the entire time, so I ate a Bolo Lêvedo das Furnas and used my time to take some photos.

You can buy the Bolos on the opposite bank of the Lagoa das Furnas from a small stall, or, of course, at the two most famous bakeries for Bolos in Furnas.

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